Who knew that all it would take for the Cubs to break their 10-game losing streak to the Dodgers was this?
Yan Gomes: first #Cubs catcher since at least 1901 with 2 homers & a stolen base in a game.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) April 15, 2023
Gomes is the first Cubs catcher with a homer, steal and two hits in a game since Michael Barrett (6/8/2007). https://t.co/Z7b6qc0fvz— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 15, 2023
With a quick search on B-R's Stathead, looks like this is 10th time on record a catcher has had 2+ homers and a stolen base in a game. Yan Gomes is first to do so since Brian McCann on July 25, 2008.— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 15, 2023
Yan Gomes had his best game as a Cub, with three hits including the two homers and a stolen base. Justin Steele threw seven strong innings (becoming the first Cubs starter to go seven this year) and three other Cubs homered in a 8-2 win over the Dodgers, the team’s first over L.A. since the combined no-hitter nearly two years ago and a really good show for the offense overall.
The Cubs got on the board in the third inning. That’s when Gomes singled and stole second. Gomes got a good jump on Noah Syndergaard and the play wasn’t actually very close. Gomes now has eight career steals without being caught. He had two last year for the Cubs.
The steal turned out to be important, because one out later Ian Happ bounced this ball into the seats [VIDEO]. Gomes doesn’t score from first on that one.
The Dodgers tied it up in the bottom of the third on a solo homer by Chris Taylor on a slider from Steele, usually his out pitch.
But the Cubs took the lead back in the fourth. Cody Bellinger led off with a double, and two ground outs later he scored. Watch his good baserunning on the run-scoring out by Eric Hosmer [VIDEO].
Bellinger was 1-for-4 with a walk in his first game back at Dodger Stadium after they let him go and he signed with the Cubs last offseason. He got a nice welcome back from the team and fans [VIDEO].
Gomes extended the lead to 3-1 in the fifth with his second homer of the year [VIDEO].
Max Muncy homered off Steele in the seventh, but apart from the two solo homers Steele dominated this game, striking out eight. He’s been solid in all three of his starts this year.
The Cubs got that run back in the eighth inning courtesy of Ian Happ [VIDEO].
Happ’s blast went a long, long way [VIDEO].
And then it was Seiya Suzuki’s turn [VIDEO].
Dodgers reliever Andre Jackson then retired Bellinger on a long fly to center, but then Patrick Wisdom smacked the Cubs’ third homer of the inning [VIDEO].
Here’s a look at Steele’s 101 pitches [VIDEO].
Brad Boxberger threw an uneventful 1-2-3 eighth and then Gomes put the cherry on top of his evening with his second homer of the night [VIDEO].
It was the second two-homer game for Gomes as a Cub (also July 24, 2022) and seventh of his career.
Happ batted in the ninth needing a triple for a cycle; instead, his RBI double made it 8-2 [VIDEO].
A note about Happ’s night:
Cubs hitters with at least one steal, two doubles, one homer and four hits in a game:— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) April 15, 2023
Ian Happ (tonight)
Brian McRae (4/19/1996)
Hack Wilson (8/24/1927)
Frank Chance (9/2/1908)
Michael Rucker finished up with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Suzuki looked just fine in his first game back from his oblique injury, including the homer. He made a nice running catch in the first inning on a ball hit by Freddie Freeman — dare I say, most of the other guys playing right field for the Cubs this year would not have made that play. He looked good making another one in the seventh on a sinking fly ball hit by Miguel Rojas.
Overall, the Cubs defense looked sharp in this game and here is a sentiment I’ve seen echoed in several places this year:
Patrick Wisdom's third base defense is looking more like 2021 (excellent) than 2022 (quite poor) this season. That's really important.— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) April 15, 2023
Defense: It matters. Complaint department: Closed! The Dodgers sure didn’t look much like the team that dominated the regular season last year with 111 wins.
The Cubs will go for a series win when they play the second of this three-game series Saturday evening at Dodger Stadium. Jameson Taillon will start for the Cubs and Michael Grove gets the call for the Dodgers. Game time is an hour earlier than Friday’s game, 8:10 p.m. CT, and TV coverage will be via Marquee Sports Network.